Sunday, June 08, 2008

Nannygate: 'Tory insiders' cast doubt on Spelman's story...

The Sunday Times says Tory insiders claim the registered Nanny paid by Tory Party chairman Caroline Spelman out of the public purse did NOT write letters or do other routine work normally undertaken by an MP's secretary.

If the revelations in the Sunday Times are accurate, then the accusations of sleaze at the very heart of David Cameron's Conservative Party will stick.

While the 'whoopsies' in Europe are one thing, a Tory cover-up involving David Cameron's party chairman and top 'sleaze-buster' Caroline Spelman would be much more damaging for David Cameron.

Certainly, there are too many unanswered questions in today's statements from Caroline Spelman and the Nanny herself which will continue to provide sleazy headlines for days to come.

Ms Spelman, in charge of making sure Tory MPs(and MEPs) don't get caught break rules on expenses, claims she paid Tina Haynes as her constituency secretary between 9am and 3pm every day when she first became an MP and that it was legitimate to pay her from her parliamentary staffing allowance.

Mr Spelman claims the registered nanny only provided childcare out of school hours for which she was unpaid, but in receipt of free board and lodge.

But according to Sunday Times, Tory insiders say
"although she worked five days a week, Haynes is not believed to have fulfilled the key role performed by most MPs constituency secretaries: answering letters and dealing with their queries."
In a statement on Saturday, Ms Spelman said hiring her nanny as her secretary was:
"a practical solution as she could deal with the secretarial side while the children were at school and then after school provide childcare for my kids..."
I note that one of her children was just two at the time. Was he really in school six hours a day at such a tender age? I suppose that would not be impossible, but Ms Spelman needs to explain more.

In the statement on Saturday, the Nanny said she did do "odd secretarial things" for Ms Spelman such as taking phone messages and posting documents.

But she seems to have forgotten whether she actually did secretarial work for 30 hours a week as Ms Spelman has claimed.

Even the Tory's favourite Sunday paper, the Telegraph says the Tory chairman was forced to issue a 'humiliating statement' and faces various calls to pay back the money and resign.

I suspect there's much more to come on this one...


Anonymous said...

This pedant's hunt for the errant politician, driven by the media's love of expose, is destroying what little faith in our political class remains and, in doing so, poisoning the political realm. The disjuncture that now exists between the public perception of politicians as peculators, crooks, Soviet apparatchiks almost, and the banal reality of the cross-section of men and women in Parliament undermines very seriously the smooth functioning of the political system.

Undiscriminating cynicism and mistrust will be the result, and that can only hurt our political culture and do real harm to any ideology which relies on a positive conception of the state.

To read my ideas at greater length, link to my blog at:

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope there's more to come too. There's nothing quiet as satusfying as seeing the triumphalist Tory balloon getting punctured by sleaze.